Jose Mourinho goes all out in praising Newcastle

‘They fought and when they went in front, they gave their lives to keep a clean sheet’

Jose Mourinho and Rafael Benitez shake hands after the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park. Photo: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Jose Mourinho and Rafael Benitez shake hands after the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park. Photo: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

 

José Mourinho’s expertise at deflecting criticism hit new heights in the wake of his side’s 1-0 defeat against Newcastle United. Manchester United’s manager attempted to divert attention from the deficiencies of his team - and in particular those showcased in central midfield by Paul Pogba - with some extravagant, if fully -warranted, praise of Rafael Benítez and his -relegation threatened squad.

“Newcastle United’s players and, of course, their staff gave what they have and what they don’t have and I think that’s a beautiful thing in football,” said Mourinho, who has never presided over a Premier League -victory in seven attempts at St James’ Park and saw his side undone by Matt Ritchie’s -second half winner. “I think they came to fight for a point but found themselves 1-0 up and went beyond all the limits. They showed everything a manager likes to see in this game. I can imagine that Benítez is more than pleased with the effort. Were they lucky? Yes, they were but sometimes you make your own luck with your state of mind. The way they fought for every last thing is a beautiful thing.”

Mourinho’s side remain second, 16 points adrift of Manchester City, but the Portuguese claimed to draw consolation from his old mentor, the former Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson. “After a few defeats Sir Bobby once told me: ‘Don’t feel so sad, think about the happiness of the other team,’” Mourinho recalled. “I know Benítez loves football and I know he’s very, very happy.

“Obviously I’m very disappointed with the defending on the goal; we missed the challenge in the air. I remember the Newcastle player -jumping and two of my players -standing and looking at him.”

One of that pair was Pogba. Asked about his performance, Mourinho was coy. “I don’t analyse players in public,” he said before declaring the midfielder, who looked to be limping, had no injury problems. In an earlier interview Mourinho said: “I wanted someone to do the simple things well.”

Benítez said: “Hopefully I’ll have bigger wins than this one with Newcastle. But it was a really great game against a top side. It keeps us believing we can win against anyone.”

– Guardian service

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